September 30, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

CRISPR book

2 min read

My daughter Julie and I have written a book together entitled,  “How to Build a Dragon or Die Trying, A satirical look at cutting edge science.” The book will be out sometime in June most likely. This is a very different kind of book than my first two, Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide and GMO Sapiens. In How to Build a Dragon we, first of all, take a satirical tone as highlighted by the subtitle. We are somewhat poking fun at science hype in …Read More

4 min read

Reports are out that a scientist in China has been working to make a CRISPR baby for some time and supposedly has made twin genetically modified babies. I see this work as unethical and dangerous. Just a couple years ago when I published my book GMO Sapiens on potential use of CRISPR in a heritable manner in humans, some people said it would only happen decades down the road if at all due to technological issues. I was too worried, they said. Others said no …Read More

3 min read

“If I’m going to the trouble of cloning myself, I want the clone to be a copy of me!” I’m imagining what someone might say if they were told that their expensive and ethically dubious personal cloning efforts produced a clone that was somebody else instead of them. Even if the clone was very similar to the clonee, perhaps like a sibling who was nearly but not quite an identical twin, the clonee might be totally PO’d. When I think about “human “cloning” I …Read More

9 min read

Human germline CRISPR raises major bioethical considerations, but what about technical issues? Setting aside the many ethical issue about the general idea of human modification itself, could this really work? Yes in theory it could, but there are some very tough technological challenges that could and likely would cause failures or unacceptable outcomes at many steps along the way. These failures or unacceptable outcomes could easily involve real, live people who could be harmed or die. It’s very different than simple in vitro research so …Read More